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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Wattir, Wat(t)er, v. Also: vattyr, uatter, waltir. [ME and e.m.E. wectrien (c1175), watrien (a1200), wattrenn (Orm), wattur, watter (both Cursor M.), water(en (c1350), watrin (Wyclif), OE wæterian, MLG wateren, weteren.]

1. tr.To sprinkle, dampen with water. 1589 St. A. Kirk S. 652.
The kirk fluir be watterit, and the pulpeit and daskis in the kirk be sowpit
1601 Edinb. B. Rec. V 280.
That na baxteris … watter or burne thair breid in the heid or sole
1604 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 39.
[She] … tuke baith the mylne spout watter and the fluid watter and keist the same … in the first caldroun amang hir burne and then maskit hir fatt and weische hir standis and bowyes and tuik the waschinis thairof and watterit the four nuikis of hir hous with it
1619 Perth Kirk S. MS 23 Aug.
Jonat Brown wes found wattering and bleching claith in the North Inch
1641 Dunferm. Weavers 141.
That nane water their webbs in the kirkyaird

2. To furnish (persons, animals) with (a supply of) water. Also fig.b. Of a river: To irrigate (a region). 1622 (1624) Reg. Great S. 234/1.
With priviledge to watter thair guidis at the well
fig. 1654 Johnston Diary II 267.
God's consolations … ar a fountayne … and they ar tuyse a mercy in wattering ourselves and inaibling us to watter uthers
b. 1632 Lithgow Trav. i 25.
This prouince is mainely watered through the middle with stately Po

3. fig.a. To supply with the means to grow or flourish as one might water a garden. Also absol. 1572 Knox in Bann. Memor. 370.
I luik to this sentence that quhasaeuir scheddis innocent bluid defyles the land … and He quha … send me … will provide for ȝow … quhenne that athir my bluid sall wattir the doctrine [etc.]
1596 Dalr. I 110/6.
Mony men excellent in … leirning … quha wattired the … gairdins of Scotland … with the fountanes of thair ingines
absol. 1598 James VI Basil. Doron 25/3.
Cephas maye plaunte & Apollo maye uatter but it is onlie Godd that maye giue the increase

b. To subject to the process of coating or plating (with gold), to cause to shine in this fashion. Only fig. 1645 Rutherford Tryal Faith (1845) 285.
That all his actions moral be watered and lustered with faith

4. intr.Of the eyes: To water, shed tears. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 439.
I haif a wattir spunge … Than wring I it … and wetis my chekis With that watteris [M. waltiris] myn ene and welteris doune teris
c1570 Chron. Fortirgall 147.
Mustyr seid … makith ones eis to vattyr

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"Wattir v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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